Ara Parker

Assistant Professor of Expressive Therapies

faculty Ara Parker

Ara Parker is a registered art therapist (RCAT), a registered psychotherapist (CRPO) and Canadian certified counselor (CCC). She joined Lesley in 2018 as a core faculty member of the Department of Graduate Expressive Therapies, in the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Expressive Arts Therapy program.

Prior to joining Lesley, Ara Parker was Chair of the Department of Psychotherapy and Spirituality at St. Stephen’s College and Faculty Lecturer of Art Therapy, at St. Stephen’s and the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB, Canada since 2012. 

Ara Parker’s doctoral dissertation (Doctor of Ministry program, St. Stephen’s College) is entitled Spiritually-informed Art Therapy: An A/R/Tographic Inquiry into Formation.

A graduate of Lesley University’s Master of Arts, Expressive Therapies program (1997), Ara has been working as an art therapist and expressive arts therapist in a variety of settings. Her clinical work has included private and community practice with various populations for over twenty years; including 4 years of expressive arts therapy with children and adolescent psychiatric patients at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health in Victoria, BC, Canada.

She has facilitated art therapy workshops for in-service providers in education and mental health care, as well as community workshops in the area of the expressive arts for self-care, spiritual development, loss and grief. She has also taught art therapy at the Winnipeg Holistic Expressive Arts Therapy Institute, the British Columbia School of Art Therapy, and the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She is a senior clinical Art Therapy Supervisor.

Ara has also served on the Editorial Board of the Canadian Art Therapy Association and the Board of the British Columbia Art Therapy Association. She is a volunteer Art Therapist/ Expressive Arts Therapist with The Red Pencil International (Thailand).


Invited Talks, Academic Appointments, Research and Academic Publications

Scholar with the Integrative Health Institute at University of Alberta  (2014-2018)   

Editorial Reviewer, CATA Journal, Routledge, Taylor and Francis, (2015-2018)

Pediatric Rounds and Complementary & Alternative Medicine Fair, University of Alberta, (2012-2015)      

Palliative Care Society of Leduc, AB, (2012)

Master Degree Students’ Thesis and Capstone examination, supervision, mentorship and advising. Abstracts and Convocation information here:…

Student PhD and Thesis Committee and Examiner for University of Alberta’s Faculties of Education, Fine Arts, Leisure and Recreation Studies and St. Stephen’s College, (2015-2017)                                            

Publications include:

Parker, A. (expected 2018). Doctoral dissertation (Candidate at St. Stephen’s College). “Spiritually-informed Art Therapy: An A/R/Tographic inquiry into formation.”     

Parker, A. (2018). Cover art and illustrations. EnVisage, New On-line magazine of the Canadian Art Therapy Association, Inaugural Issue.

Parker, A. (2015). Book Review: "There Is No Need to Talk About This: Poetic Inquiry From the Art Therapy Studio (Inutile d'en parler: enquête poétique menée en studio d'art thérapie) by Karen O. Wallace"; Taylor & Francis online

Parker, A. (2015). “Split Open” in Burton, N, (Ed.). (2015). Natal Signs: Cultural representations of pregnancy, birth and parenting. Toronto, ON: Demeter Press. 

Parker, A. (2014). “Towards a Theory of Spiritually-informed Art Therapy” in Fehlner, J. (Ed.) (2014). Art Therapy as an Instrument of Peace, CATA Journal publication.

Parker, A. (2006-2011). Published Researcher, Arts Health Network Canada.

Parker, A. (1997). Master’s thesis. “Transcending Spirit: The role of the expressive arts in healing depression and anxiety; a personal and professional journey”. Cambridge, MA: Lesley University.


DMin., St. Stephens College
M.A., Lesley University
B.J., Carleton University
B.F.A., York University
Registered Art Therapist (RCAT, BCATR)
Registered Psychotherapist (CRPO)
Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCPA)

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